Obstacles to crop diversification and cotton harvest mechanisation: Farm survey evidence from two contrasting districts in Uzbekistan

The dominance of cotton in the irrigated areas of Central Asia has long been criticized for its ecological effects on salinization and desertification. From an economic point of view, this monoculture ties producers to state procurement, has led to the recurrent mobilization of manual labour during harvest campaigns and makes farmers vulnerable to water availability and crop failure. Crop diversification and harvest mechanisation have been proposed as strategies to mitigate these effects, provide alternative income generation channels and increase farmers´ flexibility in dealing with reduced water availability. This contribution uses 2014 survey data from two districts in Uzbekistan, Jondor in Bukhara province and Zangiota in Tashkent province, to inform this debate by identifying real-world obstacles to these strategies. The first district is dominated by the conventional cotton and wheat rotation introduced after 1991. The second district is home to a wide range of high-value crops (HVC), in particular fruits and vegetables. The evidence shows how HVCs can be a profitable alternative to the state-mandated monocultures. Moreover, water productivity of HVCs is much higher. Even so, there is practically no hands-on experience of harvest mechanisation in the traditional cotton region so far. In addition to the state delivery targets, a lack of finance, absent connections to city markets, missing role models and the complete inexperience of farmers with alternative technologies will impede a further expansion of crop diversification and the mechanisation of harvest operations.

Variant title:
Hindernisse bei der Einführung diversifizierter Fruchtfolgen und der mechanisierten Baumwollernte: Ergebnisse einer landwirtschaftlichen Betriebsbefragung in zwei unterschiedlichen Landkreisen in Usbekistan
Prepjatstvija na puti diversifikacii sel'skochozjajstvennych kul'tur i mechanizacii uborki chlopka: Dannye obsledovanija fermerskich chozjajstv v dvuch otličitel'nych rajonach Uzbekistana
Balmann, Alfons
Brosig, Stephan
Glauben, Thomas
Herzfeld, Thomas
Hockmann, Heinrich
Müller, Daniel
Petrick, Martin
Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
ISSN 1438-2172 (Other)
Record Identifier:
PURL Identifier:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
O33; P28; Q12; Q15
Series Statement:
IAMO Discussion Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)